Why a mascot can breathe life into a brand…
The Challenge Marketers Have
Never before have there been so many different channels and methods that you can use to reach and engage potential consumers, but as great as that is, it can feel like an incredibly overwhelming obstacle to effectively connect with customers.
Brand identity and brand recognition are essential components to the success of any business. That is why marketing teams are constantly working to define or in some cases re-define their brand presence everyday. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with data, messaging and platform options, you’re not alone.
How brand mascots clarify brand identities and guide memorable, cohesive marketing strategies…
It’s hard to find someone that doesn’t instantly recognize some of the classic consumer brand mascots – The Michelin Man, Tony the Tiger, Mr. Peanut, Pillsbury Doughboy, all of which do most of the story telling for their brands.
In the early 2,000’s mascots started to trend in the service industry as means to take a complex service and/or “dull” industry and make it personable and memorable. The Geico Gecko, Flo at Progressive, The Aflac Duck, to name a few. This strategy is continuing because it works!
A distinctive mascot in the most basic sense is an excellent way to grab the viewer’s attention. If done well, a mascot has the power to play a major role in humanizing your brand through a relatable personality and an emotional connection. The key is getting it right, because just as right character and tasteful campaign can launch sales…the wrong spokesperson can cripple a brand instantly. The right design studio will help marketing teams do the following:
- Create touch-points of culture that your target audience can associate with
- Develop a strong but inviting voice so consumers want to befriend your character
- Portray actions, verbal cues and struggles that your customers identify with
- Reinforce top-of-mind brand awareness on an ongoing basis
- Build brand loyalty & drive retention
- Turn customers into brand ambassadors – if they talk about the brand across social platforms, you’re winning!
Where do I start with creating a brand mascot?
Popular brands today utilize a host of people, animals, and imaginative beings to facilitate audience awareness, differentiate themselves in their field, and tell their brand stories.
The first rule of developing a brand mascot is understanding the framework that already exists in your company. Think of human attributes for your company and real struggles your consumers might be experiencing surrounding your product or service.
Hire an expert in the visual design space to help with this strategy – it will pay off!
Where to be careful
Consumers have become content savvy, most people recognize when a brand is forcing a trendy narrative, or trying to be something it is not by chasing “hip” or “cool” trends. Quick fixes or bandwagon initiatives may end alienating customers as this type of disingenuous engagement comes off as patronizing and uninspired.
Using a celebrity… good or bad?
There is no right or wrong; it fits well for some campaigns but there are more considerations to make if you’re going in this direction. While a celebrity might be in vogue for a while and have a very large following of potential customers – they are proving to be more costly, less available and in some cases carry many risks (they’re human beings after all).
The cost of a brand mascot
Many believe mascots to be a big brand marketing tool that come at a cost, but that is far from the truth. Mascots are actually an incredibly cost-effective marketing tool that are suitable for most, if not all marketing platforms.
The important thing is for a company to feel confident and in control of their marketing voice. The best part is the mascot’s personality can evolve and adapt to change with the times in culture and business. This flexibility means the right spokesperson carries longevity.
Non-human mascots also don’t take vacations, get sick, ask for raises or get you in trouble (for the most part that is).
A brand strategy worth considering
Creating a brand story with a mascot that people can understand and identify with can pay dividends. Developing a character won’t happen overnight and it’s important to note that the success of a brand mascot relies on marketing strategy, and online presence but if done well can be helpful for just about any brand out there.
Over at Frost, it’s been rewarding work alongside brands to develop the look, feel, voice and actions and bring mascots to life for some of Colorado’s top companies. If you have questions about your mascot strategy – we’d love to chat!